Why Do Viruses Spread in the Winter Months?

It’s safe to say that you’re aware that the winter months are usually the time when many viruses rear their ugly heads. In the past, the flu is what most of us put our time and attention in guarding against, but obviously, things have drastically changed.

Once COVID-19 peaks and the virus starts to fizzle out, it will likely become seasonal, much like the flu. But why does this happen?

Our AFC Urgent Care Athens, TN team provides some helpful answers below, so keep reading!

What Causes a Winter Uptick in Virus Cases?

Among many things, temperature in general has the most to do with it. While cold weather itself doesn’t create more viruses, it can affect how our bodies protect us from viruses and sicknesses.

Viruses most often enter through the mouth or nose (where we breathe in respiratory particles), and our nasal passages usually have a strong line of defense up to block these particles from harming our bodies. Cold weather, however, slows down our ability to clear the mucus in our noses, letting the virus infect the body. Below, we’ve listed a few other reasons viruses tend to become more prevalent during the winter months.

Other Reasons for Winter Viruses

  • Lower humidity. Lower humidity has been shown to increase a virus’ ability to transmit to others, likely due to the sun’s weakened UV power, which is caused by the earth’s rotation and tilt.
  • More time spent indoors. Viruses have an easier time spread in enclosed spaces.
  • Colder, drier climates. The flu and COVID-19 viruses may survive better in colder, drier climates, and therefore will be able to infect more people.
  • Shorter days and less sunlight. When we get less sunlight, we get less vitamin D and melatonin, which are both key in fighting off viruses and illnesses.

How Can I Fight Off Viruses?

The best way to fight off viruses is to get vaccinated against them if you can. The flu and the coronavirus are the two viruses that pose the greatest threat at the moment, so make it a priority to get vaccinated if you have yet to do so.

We’ve listed some additional ways you can increase your likelihood of staying healthy below.

Additional Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

  • Put on a mask. Masks are a simple way to protect yourself and others from the virus by preventing respiratory droplets from spreading.
  • Handwashing should be done on a regular basis. Frequent handwashing helps protect against a variety of illnesses, including the flu and COVID-19.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are less likely to enter your body if you keep your hands away from your face.

Do you have additional questions about viruses? If so, we can provide answers! Don’t hesitate to give us a call or visit our AFC center today.